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Activity-Oriented Design Methods (AODM): A way of making sense of the CEN

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Online social networking is an emerging area of interest to educational professionals and researchers alike. Unfortunately, more attention is paid to the process of knowledge-building resulting in less being paid to the processes of design which might enable sustainable collaborative knowledge-building (CKB) to flourish. The relative lack of attention to design, points to the need for methods to guide the development of CKB environments. This paper therefore draws on a larger study within an online social networking setting and focuses on the use of Activity Oriented Design Methods (Mwanza 2002) as a way to facilitate designers to capture a far-reaching perspective of the research and design context. In this presentation, I show how the AODM is used as a guide to operationalise various methods of data collection to gain a deeper insight into the context for further research. I argue that the development of a design framework to support sustainable CKB in online social networking environments is a complex process that demands a comprehensive activity-oriented approach to get a full picture the activity system in order to be responsive to learner needs. This approach suggests that there are implications for the way design for CKB is contextualised in such settings

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Activity-Oriented Design Methods (AODM): A way of making sense of the CEN

  1. 1. School of Education<br />Postgraduate Conference 2010<br />Activity-Oriented Design Methods (AODM):A way of making sense of the <br />LeRoy Hill<br /> Centre for Research in Schools and Communities <br /> <br />
  2. 2. I created the network in March 2008 with the hope of addressing the need of bringing educators together for professional development, communication and sharing of ideas. As an educator for 13 years I know benefit of tacit/informal education and thought that others would do as well…The network itself supersedes any theoretical base - it is more of a practical goal for us in the Caribbean.  However, it [lends] itself easily to...action research as a means of a developmental/intervention study. I can see the amount of enthusiasm that it can create because it is not [just] an experiment...it is a real network, with real [people and] real issues, and will continue to be so even after we finish studying. Our contribution will be engraved [on] the network culture to be something that others can benefit from <br />(Leroy Hill, Communication to co-researcher within CEN, March 26, 2009).<br />The Context & Challenge<br />
  3. 3. Alli<br />I joined CEN about seven months ago after an earlier botched attempt. I have found this network to be a great opportunity for collegiality and growth in the profession. It also allows a certain measure of privacy that general social networking sites do not bring. Our comments stay among us and we understand each other…It is an avenue to explore my thoughts and I feel more connected to my colleagues in my subject area…I am very hopeful that one of my favourite areas, teacher collaboration and professional development will realise its full potential through the network. The Elluminate Vroom where discussions are held as often as possible when fully explored is another way we can build together, creating local content that we have long craved. Sessions in the V room are very satisfying. ..Having my colleagues at school join the network is one way in which I can contribute to building competency in the use of ICTs.<br />June 20th 2009<br />
  4. 4. Glenda<br />Since I joined I started the Mathematics Educators Group and to date there are 8 members. It has been a great experience for me thus far as the discussions and comments have been both eye opening and comforting.<br />It is good to interact with teachers of the region on issues affecting them in delivering the curriculum to the children. I meet some of them when I mark CSEC math but this forum allows for exchange on a different level. The fact that we are preparing students for a common examination but in different contexts (each territory has some cultural differences) gives rich fodder for sharing and helping each other.<br />June 20th 2009<br />
  5. 5. First thing – Understand the context for design<br />Second I need to factor in an approach “that nurtures reflection, dialogue and an approach that seeks to transform and extend [my] experience…” as a designer (Conole & Oliver 2006, p.97)<br />Third – context as key aspect.<br />The Design Challenge?<br />
  6. 6. Membership<br />2008 – 231 <br />2009 – 775 <br />2010 - 880<br />
  7. 7. n= 375 (March 21 2008 – March 31 2009)<br />Country<br />No. Members<br />No. Members<br />Country<br />Working Environment<br />Anguilla<br />23<br />Jamaica<br />57<br />Antigua and Barbuda<br />5<br />Martinique<br />3<br />Mexico<br />2<br />Aruba<br />1<br />Montserrat<br />1<br />Australia<br />1<br />Puerto Rico<br />2<br />Bahamas<br />4<br />Saint Kitts and Nevis<br />19<br />Barbados<br />39<br />Saint Lucia<br />11<br />Belize<br />4<br />Bermuda<br />1<br />Saint Vincent and the Grenadines<br />6<br />Canada<br />2<br />Singapore<br />1<br />Cayman Islands<br />1<br />Sudan<br />1<br />Dominica<br />4<br />Trinidad and Tobago<br />132<br />Dominican Republic<br />1<br />United Kingdom<br />6<br />United States<br />22<br />Germany<br />1<br />United States Minor Outlying Islands<br />1<br />Grenada<br />2<br />Guadeloupe<br />1<br />Virgin Islands, British<br />13<br />Guyana<br />14<br />Virgin Islands, U.S.<br />1<br />India<br />2<br />
  8. 8. Planning<br />(Methodology)<br />Acting/Reflecting<br />Outcome<br />Methodology <br /><ul><li> New Research questions
  9. 9. Themes for literature
  10. 10. AODM application</li></ul>Cycle 1<br />Phase<br />1<br />Cycle 2<br />Framework: AODM<br />Methodology: observation,<br />Mixed methods<br /><ul><li> created CCoL for collaborative design
  11. 11. identified processes, presences for effective CKB
  12. 12. e-moderating framework</li></ul>Cycle 3<br />Phase<br />2<br />Framework: adaptedCOI <br />Methodology: Participant Observation, Thematic Coding<br />Cycle 4<br />Framework: Adapted COI<br />Methodology: Observation, Thematic Coding, <br /><ul><li> created CCoL for collaborative design
  13. 13. identified processes, presences for effective CKB
  14. 14. e-moderating framework</li></ul>Phase<br />3<br />Cycle 5<br />Framework:<br />Methodology: Observation, Thematic Coding<br />
  15. 15. CYCLE ONE<br />
  16. 16.
  17. 17. ACTIVITY THEORY! Hmmm it must be good, everybody is talking about it.<br />There were so many different applications:<br /><ul><li>”Although certain researchers may consistently apply a preferred strategy, there is no accepted methodology for using Activity Theory, particularly in the fields of instructional and performance technology” (Barab et al. p 207, 2004).</li></ul>Activity, Activity, Activity<br />How do I apply Activity theory?<br />Help was on the way…<br />
  18. 18. So what did I Discover?<br />
  19. 19. Activity-Oriented Design Method (AODM)<br />AODManalyzes and informs the design process of technological systems<br />Mwanza D. (2002) – Towards an Activity-Oriented Method (AODM) for HCI Research and Practice - PhD Thesis<br />Greenhow, C. & Belbas, B., (2007). Using activity-oriented design methods to study collaborative knowledge-building in e-learning courses within higher education. <br />Mwanza-Simwami, Daisy (2009). Using activity-oriented design methods (AODM) to investigate mobile learning. <br />
  20. 20. Cycle 2 – RQs<br />How do I utilise AODM to make sense of the Caribbean Educators Network?<br />How do I make sense of participation, activity and membership interest in gaining a deeper understanding in the nature of CEN<br />
  21. 21. The 6 Stages, 4 Tools<br />Stage 1 & 2 Interpreting and modelling the CEN. The Eight-Step-Model<br />
  22. 22. The Tools…<br />AODM’s Activity Notation (Mwanza 2002, p.152)<br />AODM’s Eight-Step-Model (Mwanza 2002, p.128)<br />AODM’s Technique of Generating General Research Questions (Mwanza 2002, p.155)<br />AODM’s Technique of Mapping AODM Operational Processes (Mwanza 2002, p.162)<br />
  23. 23. Why AODM<br />As a planning tool, AODM tends to be largely iterative and aims to help designers “generate insights for further study and refinement” (Greenhow & Belbas 2007, p.369) <br />The AODM provides a comprehensive and empirically tested set of tools in operationalising Activity Theory in design analysis and development process by making explicit the “process of gathering, analysis and communicating design requirements” (Mwanza 2002, p.214). <br />Clearly outlined in 6 stages and methodological tools:(1) A Eight-Step-Model (2) An activity Notation (3) A technique for generating Sub-Activity-Oriented Research questions (4) A technique for Mapping Operational processes.<br />Application of AODM in CEN Context provides a different setting to test…<br />
  24. 24. The CEN Application<br />Stage 1 & 2 Interpreting and modelling the CEN. The Eight-Step-Model<br /> <br />
  25. 25. Stage 3 & 4 Decompose the Activity System and generate research questions<br />1. What tools do members of CEN use to achieve CKB and how?<br />2. What constraints/rules affect the way in which individual members are able to perform CKB activities?<br />3. How does the division of labour influence the way in which individual members achieve CKB activities?<br />4. How do the tools in use affect the way CEN groups achieves CKB activities?<br />5. What rules/constraints/ affect the way CEN groups satisfy collaborative knowledge-building activities and how?<br />6. How does the division of labour affect the way CEN groups achieves sustainable collaborative knowledge-building activities.<br />The CEN Application…<br />
  26. 26. The CEN Application…<br />Stage 5 & 6 Conduct detailed investigation and Mapping AODM operational processes.<br />
  27. 27. The CEN Application…<br />Stage 5 & 6 …<br />
  28. 28. The CEN Application…<br />Stage 5 & 6 …<br />
  29. 29. Subject-Tool-Object<br />O1<br />Community-Tool-Object<br />CPD Model<br />Designer<br />O2<br />CKB Framework<br />Advisory<br />Group<br />
  30. 30. The AODM provided a suitable framework for capturing a comprehensive perspective of CEN. It also facilitated the:<br />Development of research questions for further investigation and a focus of collaboration in groups within the CEN<br />Identification of the shared object of collaborative knowledge building within the CEN.<br />Highlighted tensions that exist which leads to the need for intervention/ change.<br />Reflections<br />
  31. 31. “To relative newcomers conducting research based on Activity Theory, AODM provides a valuable source of guidance and structure. However, AODM is itself complex and requires vigilance in maintaining perspective…” (Greenhow & Belbas 2007, p.386)<br />AODM is not a short-cut to Activity Theory. A good understanding Activity Theory is still needed to apply the methods.<br />Disclaimer <br />
  32. 32. Conole, G. & Oliver, M., 2006. Contemporary Perspectives in E-learning Research (Open & Flexible Learning) 1st ed., Routledge.  <br />Greenhow, C. & Belbas, B., 2007. Using activity-oriented design methods to study collaborative knowledge-building in e-learning courses within higher education. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 2(4), 363-391.  <br />Mwanza, D. (2002) “Towards an Activity-Oriented Design Method for HCI Research and Practice.” PhD Thesis - The Open University, United Kingdom. <br />Mwanza-Simwami, D. (2009). Using Activity-Oriented Design Methods (AODM) to investigate mobile learning. In: Vavoula, Giasemi, Pachler, Norbert and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes eds. Researching Mobile Learning Frameworks, tools and research designs. Oxford, UK: Peter Lang Verlag, 97–122.<br />References<br />